3 trade deadline options for Phillies to replace Taijuan Walker in the rotation

If the Phillies decide to move off Walker in the rotation, here are three possible solutions they could target at the trade deadline.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Erick Fedde
Chicago White Sox pitcher Erick Fedde / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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Yusei Kikuchi, TOR

Yusei Kikuchi has had a tumultuous tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays. After a brutal 2022 campaign that saw him struggle to a 5.19 ERA, he bounced back with a strong 2023, posting an 11-6 record and a 3.86 ERA.

Who is the real Yusei Kikuchi? Honestly, somewhere in between those two pitchers. That's what he has shown this season, which is turning into a forgettable year for the Blue Jays.

Before Friday, the 33-year-old left-hander had a 4.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 16 starts, posting a 4-7 record for the 37-44 Jays. But those numbers don't tell the whole tale.

Kikuchi started the year off on fire, posting a 2.95 ERA in April, holding opposing hitters to an impressive .242/.285/.344 slash line. May saw his ERA rise to 3.62. And then June started. He has a 6.04 ERA this month. Although, to be fair, not much has gone the floundering Blue Jays' way recently.

Throughout the recent struggles, he has still been logging strikeouts, with a season-long 24.2 percent strikeout rate and 5.6 percent walk rate.

With the prevailing feeling around the league that Toronto should be sellers at the deadline, Kikuchi might just be biding his time and waiting for a move. His expiring contract is at the top of the list of trade targets. If he's on the Phillies' radar, they'd be responsible for the rest of his $12 million salary this season.